Go Vegan World’s 2023 Christmas Campaign


The theme of our campaign this year is Sentience. Most people will use and eat animals this Christmas, as they do every day. ‘Turkey and Ham’ is the traditional meal, although some people eat other birds such as ducks, geese, and chickens, or cows and fishes: the ‘centrepiece’ of most celebratory meals is the body of another animal. As we updated our profile photos on social media in mid-December, we couldn’t help but be moved by the contrast between the representation of Banbh (our pig) and Saoirse (our turkey), and the dead body parts of their comrades that fill our supermarket shelves before Christmas.

For vegans, there is something grotesque in seeing entire pigs’ legs and turkeys for sale. They are stark reminders that not long ago, these limbs were attached to feeling animals who did not want to die. The shop shelves are lined with the bodies, body parts and products of all the animals whose personalities we never knew, and we can’t help ourselves imagining how they lived and how much pain and terror they suffered when they were slaughtered. We know one thing for sure: they endured something that no human would volunteer to experience.


Banbh lives at our sanctuary, Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary. She was used for most of her life as a ‘breeding sow’, first on a farm and then in a backyard farm. ‘Breeding Sow’ is a term used to describe the exploitation of the reproductive system of a female pig who is repeatedly forcefully inseminated, artificially or in an artificially created setting with a boar. Once she gives birth, her babies are ‘fattened’ and slaughtered for pig flesh. Banbh’s ears bear the mutilation marks of the tags she once wore that marked her as someone’s property. When she arrived at Eden, she had a metal ring in her nose, preventing her from doing what came naturally to her, digging the ground. She has the freedom to dig wherever she wants now. She is a sensitive, curious pig who has been patient and gentle with us as we treated her health issues since she arrived several years ago. She enjoys us massaging her tender skin with oil, the special treats we give her at meal time, and digging her paddock until she gets it just right so she can relax by the fence when the weather is warm.


Saoirse was given to Eden when the children at the home where she lived, couldn’t bear to kill her when Christmas came. She has passed away now, but for many years her strong personality was a hallmark of our sanctuary.


Stephanie features in our main ad this Christmas along with Marcus, one of her carers. Stephanie was offered by a farm as an auction item to be sold to raise money for a worthy charity. Only Stephanie is not an inanimate item: she is a feeling being with a strong personality who does not trust strangers. As you can see in this ad, she is deeply affectionate. Most of us have a very strong reaction to the crime of buying and selling humans and exploiting them for profit. It is just as wrong for us to ‘own’ and use the lives of non-human animals.


We first learned about turkeys at our sanctuary in 2012 when we rescued Maeve, Morgana and Marion from a local farm where we used to buy our ‘Christmas Turkey’. Because they are bred to be so heavy for the Christmas market, they suffer arthritis in their joints. Yet, as we approached the sanctuary entrance, we would hear the thud of them running on their sore feet to greet us with a hug. A turkey hug is surprising because few of us have ever met a live turkey, never mind hugged one. Their skin and feathers are incredibly soft. They love the close proximity of humans, and when they experience physical affection from us, they purr. It was deeply shocking to me to hold the warm body of a turkey who had chosen to be friends with me, to feel her beating heart under my hands and witness her emotional response to me, while simultaneously remembering that I had lifted the cold, heavy, dead body of one of her comrades into our oven, Christmas after Christmas.

The Normalisation of Killing

It is not normal for us to kill to meet our needs. Science confirms that it is not only unnecessary to kill other animals but doing so has dangerous disadvantages in terms of environment destruction, climate chaos, antibiotic resistance, and zoonotic disease. It is much more rewarding to let someone live than to kill them. So how do we develop from children who love other animals to adults who pay for them to be exploited and killed on our behalf?

There are several theories (Cole and Stewart, 2014); Korimboccus, L (2020) that examine our childhood social relations with other animals and account for the psychological processes children go through as they grow up in a speciesist society where animal use is normalised. Go Vegan World disrupts these processes for viewers as it draws attention to the link between ‘animal products’ and the living, feeling beings they were before they were exploited and killed. This is the second theme of our Christmas campaign and we use the natural affection children display towards other animals to remind viewers that we create a boundary between “them and us” that is against our natural instinct to recognise sentience in others and respect their rights to what we want for ourselves.

Our ads are live in print and on billboards throughout Ireland and in parts of the United Kingdom. Some ads will continue in the New Year on the London Underground and buses in Birmingham.


The Peppa Pig Paradox:

“Despite Peppa Pig being a billion-pound character favourite of children across the globe, many of those same children regularly consume pig products. Using cognitive dissonance as a starting point, this photo essay aims to investigate how the “meat paradox” (Loughnan et al., 2010) may be applied at an intra-species level to this phenomenon: The Peppa Pig Paradox. It may be that animals in the Peppa series are simply anthropomorphised versions of ourselves (Mills, 2017); that the anthropocentric human-is-animal metaphors we employ maintain negative views of all things porcine (Goatly, 2006); or that the socialisation process and norm maintenance necessitate dissociative language (Plous, 1993) about other animals to maintain a boundary across which we dare not tread.”

Full text:

The “Peppa Pig Paradox” Investigating Contradictory Childhood Consumption.

Korimboccus, L.M. (2020). ‘Pig-Ignorant: The Peppa Pig Paradox: Investigating Contradictory Childhood Consumption.’ Journal for Critical Animal Studies 17(5): 3-33.

Cole, M., & Stewart, K. (2014). Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315599205